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DescriptionA man walks into Roland Longville’s office and asks for help with the disappearance of his young daughter. Her apparent kidnapping caused a media circus years earlier because her parents were wealthy, and she had disappeared during her ninth birthday party—with the house full of guests. Longville, a private detective, joins forces with Detective Amos Tiller. The two men embark on a journey that takes them from the seediest parts of Birmingham to a surreal ghost town in the Arizona desert, where circuses go to winter. There they will find the awful truth behind a crime almost too dark and terrible to believe.
This title is published by The Fiction Works and is distributed worldwide by Untreed Reads.
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Excerpt:The weather had been gravely ill for weeks. Today it had wrapped itself in a gloomy gray shroud and the icy rain seemed to have no end. Wind howled through the dead avenues like a wounded thing, and the rain whipped relentlessly against black clouds that wheeled above like carrion birds, waiting for the inevitable.
This was summer’s wretched ruin, and the first taste of a hard and premature winter. The winter weather had come howling into Birmingham the week before. Fall had been displaced, the leaves on the trees that were only just beginning to turn color encased with ice. It was only September, but the city’s tired inhabitants already found themselves missing the swelter of the summer that had just ended.
All down the windswept interstates and through the slimy back streets, motorists struggled across Birmingham’s broad back, trying desperately to get to work, to home, to the restaurant, to the bowling alley. Some might not live to see the gray day’s end, some might break a leg or find true love, and some might disappear into the premature birth of winter and never be seen again.
I turned up the collar on my long wool coat and considered these and other mysteries, as I stepped into the lobby of the ancient brownstone Brooks building, of which I was the only remaining tenant. It was nine stories of once resplendent brick, a hulking leftover from another time. My office was located on the third floor of this noble relic. Except for an aging janitor and the occasional client, I was the only human being that troubled its quiet halls.
The Brooks Building presided over the now mostly vacant Brooks Plaza; whatever bustle of business it had once housed was long past. Only one business in the plaza was still open besides my own; Sally’s Diner, across the street. The other buildings were vacant, sliding slowly into ruin. The cold wind raged and howled past their aging sides. A relentless blast of sleet slithered down the city streets, as it had for the last ten days. It was hard to believe that it was just early September.
“Is going to be long, cold winter, comrade,” I joked to myself in my best fake Russian accent as I mounted the steps to my office. The vacancy of the other suites made the venerable building seem somehow even colder.
MagicianBy: Timothy C. Phillips